Around 30 sub-groups of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), under the guidance of Tukey, have unified to form the country’s 22,000 strong “National Army,” becoming Syria’s largest armed group that will fight against the Assad regime, Daesh and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists.
Pentagon founds MOC
In 2014, the Military Operations Command (MOC) was founded by the Pentagon in order to be the sole center to coordinate aid to opposition fighters.
MOC, which was run by American officers, carried out dealings with small groups while shunning over 40,000 Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters who operated at the highest levels of discipline and professionalism.
Thirty groups merge
The Turkey-backed National Army, or al-Jaysh al-Watani in Arabic, is comprised of over 30 sub-groups which fought in the provinces of Aleppo, Idlib, Homs, Hama, Raqqa, Hasaka, Deir Ezzor and Latakia, making it the biggest fighting force in Syria since the breakout of the civil war in 2011.
The 22,000 strong National army, which was founded by the head of Syria’s Interim Government Jawad Abu Hatab, is set to play a big role in the upcoming Afrin operation.
National Army to take part in upcoming Afrin operation
In the wide-ranging Euphrates Shield Operation launched in August 2016, the Free Syrian Army -- with the support of the Turkish army -- had cleared 2,000 square kilometers (772 square miles) of land along the Turkish-Syrian border of terrorist elements. Over 15,000 soldiers in the newly-founded Syrian National Army are preparing to take part in the upcoming Afrin operation against PKK terrorists.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States. The PKK has been conducting armed violence in the southeastern part of Turkey since 1984. More than 40,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the three-decade long conflict.
Following the Afrin operation, brigades of the National Army will fight alongside the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) in the Tal Abyad and Manbij operations.
Three Türkmen brigades
There are three Turkmen brigades among the ranks of the newly announced National Army that was formed following a meeting in Azaz. These brigades included the Sultan Mehmet Fatih brigade, which is under the command of Doğan Suleiman, and the Muntasir Billah and the newly-founded Sultan Murat Brigade.
PKK/PYD, Assad regime make common cause in Aleppo
The terrorist group PKK/PYD and the Bashar al-Assad regime have made common cause in Syria's northern city of Aleppo --a move whose signs can be seen on the streets.Based on information obtained by Anadolu Agency on Wednesday, PKK/PYD -- the Syrian offshoot of the PKK -- and the Assad regime agreed to hang their respective banners side-by-side in some Aleppo neighborhoods including Sheikh Maqsoud, Hellok, al-Sheikh Khidr, Ayn at-Tal and Ashrafiya.Under an agreement mediated by Russia, both sides will take common security measures in Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafiya.The sides also agreed on the return of people who fled from the neighborhoods in question. The Assad regime is also to provide oil to areas held by the group not linked to other regions.The terrorist group's banners could be spotted in central Aleppo, some local sources told Anadolu Agency.There has been no official statement by Russia on the agreement.The PKK/PYD controls eastern the districts of Al-Hasakah, northern Raqqah, Manbij, eastern Aleppo, Afrin, and Tal Rifaat.The PYD and its military wing YPG are Syrian offshoots of the PKK terrorist network which has taken some 40,000 lives in Turkey over the last 30 years.The U.S. recognizes the PKK as a terrorist group, but has treated the PYD/YPG as an ally in its anti-Daesh efforts.Syria has only just begun to emerge from a destructive civil war that began in 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the fighting and more than 10 million displaced, according to claims by UN officials.
Turkey’s upcoming operation in Syria to extend beyond Afrin
As Turkey continues its preparations for the upcoming Afrin operation, the cross-border campaign is said to extend beyond the central northwestern Syrian region, clearing 170-kilometer strip of land from Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists. The operation, which will be carried out in partnership with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) will begin west at the Afrin- Deir Ballout, Qalaat Samaan axis, and stretch east towards Zouiyan, Douewir and Fiela, in order to create a safe region spanning 4,500 square kilometers. The PKK’s Syrian offshoot, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), occupies a terror corridor in Syria’s north that stretches from Marea and Azaz to Idlib in the west through the regime-controlled towns Nubbol and Zahra, where a parallel conflict is playing out between PKK/PYD terrorists and the Assad regime, who expelled the PKK from three areas under its occupation in Aleppo, pushing the terror organization back to Sheikh Maqsoud in the north.Russia pressures Assad on AfrinRecently, Russia has moved to withdraw from the PKK-occupied regions of Afrin and Tal Rifat, where a number of Russian military bases are currently located, as it pressured the PKK terror organization to hand over control of the regions under its occupation to the Assad regime. PKK terrorists in a meeting with Russian generals and representatives of the Russian Defense Ministry, refused to “give up their gains in Afrin” and signaled that they were “ready for war with the Turkish army,” according to reports.Operation comes after Astana consensusAs the Turkey- Iran- Russia-sponsored Astana process continues, the seventh round kicked off as meeting begun between the warring parties on Dec. 21.Turkey has rejected a Russian plan that would see control over Afrin handed over to the Assad regime citing the former’s seven-year cooperation with the PKK terror organization, and renewed its determination to launch an operation to clear the region of terrorists.Largest area to be cleared by Turkey in Syria so farWith an area spanning 3,900 square kilometers, Afrin is set to become the largest area to be cleared by Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) in Syria so far. Afrin’s population currently stands at 500,000, spread across a total of 340 towns and villages that make up the region. Together with central Afrin, the operation will include a strip that extends 40 kilometers deep into Syria and covers a 4,500-square-kilometer area that includes the towns of Minnigh, Tal Rifa, Harbel, Zouiyan, Fiela and Douweir.No turning backTurkey currently remains on full-alert against any border threats that may originate from Afrin, as it positions troops sent during the Bab Operation and the Idlib deployment along the border, and reinforces posts in the Euphrates Shield regions and border command positions. The number of on-duty Turkish soldiers and troops deployed to take part in the Afrin operation has reached 20,000, in addition to 15,000 Free Syrian Army (FSA) soldiers that are on the alert for any possible operation in the region.Security wall on border with Syria nears completion A concrete wall on the border with Syria, which Turkey set out to build in a bid to halt illegal crossings to the southern province of Hatay and prevent terrorist advances into Turkey, is nearing completion as work is still ongoing on setting up the four-meter blocs for the last remaining 10 kilometers of the 230-kilometer wall in Hatay along the border with Syria.The PYD and its military YPG wing are Syrian branches of the PKK, which has waged war against Turkey for more than 30 years.Since the PKK launched its terror campaign in Turkey in 1984, tens of thousands of people have been killed, including more than 1,200 since July 2015 alone.US attempts to encircle Turkey by increasing troop numbers in the regionPKK negotiates with Syrian regime for Afrin in exchange for Raqqa
US sends anti-tank TOW missiles to PKK terrorists in Afrin
The U.S. has resumed sending weapons to terrorists from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)’s Syrian offshoot, the PYD, in Syria’s Afrin, including the advanced U.S.-made anti-tank (TOW) missile, despite President Donald Trump’s pledge to stop sending arms shipments to the PKK. Over the past 20 days, three U.S. arms shipments were sent by the Pentagon to the PKK through the Hasakah route, to be used against Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) in the event of a possible Afrin operation. The number of state-of-the-art BGM-71 TOW missiles delivered to the PKK has reached 70. The TOW missiles, which have been part of the U.S. army’s arsenal since 1970, have been sent through the Hasakah-Manbij-Safira route, which has been used extensively against the TAF throughout the Euphrates Shield Operation frontline.TOW education inside terror campsThe U.S-made TOW missiles have been used by both the PKK and Daesh against the Turkish Armed Forces since the launch of the Euphrates Shield Operation on Aug. 24, 2016. PKK terrorists rely heavily on TOW missiles as they fortify their position in Afrin in preparation for a possible Turkish operation. PKK terrorists received training on how to operate TOW missiles in seven terror camps established across PKK-occupied regions in Syria. In the camps, terrorists receive a document certifying that they passed their TOW training upon completion and are then sent to Afrin.U.S. President Donald Trump on Nov. 24 in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pledged that the U.S. will stop arming the YPG.The Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military People’s Protection Units (YPG) wing are Syrian branches of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), which has waged war against Turkey for more than 30 years.Turkey has repeatedly objected to U.S. arms being sent to the PYD, due to its links to the terrorist organization the PKK.War between Turkey, US in Syria’s Afrin possible: CIA reportPKK terrorist on wanted list killed in eastern Turkey
Turkey’s Afrin operation imminent as Russian troops withdraw
The order given by Putin to withdraw Russian troops from Syria is set to alter the situation in the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)-occupied Afrin, as the withdrawal of the 300 Russian troops deployed in the region signals that the Turkish Armed Forces’ operation in the area might commence any day now.Joint force on the table The planned Turkish-Iranian-Russian joint force project is said to be the reason behind Russia’s decision to withdraw its forces from Syria. The soon-to-be-created joint army will provide peace and security in the regions of Hama, Homs, Aleppo, Latakia and Daraa. In order to establish lasting peace, the planned 20,000-strong joint force is set to work on establishing a unified Syrian army and will oversee democratic elections and the clearing of all terrorist threats in Syria.With bases spread across Syria in Homs, Tartous, Tadmur, Aleppo, Afrin and Latakia, Russia has close to 7,000 troops in the war-torn country.The 7,000-strong Russian force in Syria boasts several notable units such as the Chechen Special Forces deployed by Chechen President Kadirov that are stationed in Aleppo, in addition to the Russian Turan Brigades deployed in Deir Ez-zor.S-400 missiles to remain in SyriaRussian currently has 7,000 troops, over 50 Russian fighter jets , at least 40 helicopters , 80 tanks, dozens of armored vehicles and hundreds of mortar artilleries and missiles deployed in Syria following its intervention to fight alongside the Assad regime between 2015- 2017. Despite its decision to withdraw from Syria, Russian S-400 missiles are set to remain in the air bases of Tartous and Hmeimim. Additionally, the S-300 missile platforms deployed in Damascus and used by the Assad regime will also remain in Syria. At least 40 percent of the Russian forces currently in Syria is said to be slated for withdrawal.A total of 300 Russian troops in Afrin A total of 300 Russian troops are stationed in the Russian bases established in Kafar Jannah, Matar Ziraa and Rajo in the Aleppo countryside city of Afrin; they are expected to be withdrawn following Putin’s decision on Monday to pull out all Russian troops from Syria. The number of Russian troops in Afrin dropped from 800 to 300 after ties between Russia and Turkey were normalized following the crisis that erupted after the downing of a Russian jet in 2015. Following the Russian withdrawal, the launch of Turkey’s Afrin operation, with a front that spans 170 kilometers across Matar, Minnigh, Tal Rifaat and Harbel, looms closer with every passing day.Russia starts military withdrawal from SyriaTurkish, Russian presidents meet in Ankara